Friday, 30 November 2012

Whatever happened to Moana and Paikea? (No. 75)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Let me tell you what happened to Moana and Paikea. Moana’s first child had been born safely and it was a little girl and they called her Hinemoana, meaning sea maiden. Between you and me Paikea had only thought of boys’ names for the baby before the birth as he was sure the baby would be a boy. He finally accepted that the name Moana chose was excellent as it linked both mother and daughter with the sea. Sadly Paikea’s father, the old head man had died before the baby was born so only his daughters had produced grandsons for him and they lived far away. Paikea found it hard to accept that he would probably never be chief like his father. As Moana was busy being a mother she was no longer involved in village affairs and giving advice to the village council or helping Paikea not to make foolhardy decisions.

Paikea’s mother and his father’s second wife would spend much time with Moana and the baby and he felt that he no longer knew what was happening in the village except through their women’s talk. Moana was settled now as she regularly had Ahu and Hatiti visit her and she them, but the whole dynamic in the village had shifted and Paikea’s family were no longer at the centre of things but Ahuahu and his family were.

It was really no surprise to Moana when Paikea spoke to her one night when the Hinemoana had been fed and put on her mat.

“Moana, I do not feel that our future is in this village. I think we should live at Agate hills with Aperahama and Aio‘s family there or with my other sister who lives close to the smoky mountains.

“Do you not want to stay and one day be chosen for the village council, Paikea?”

Paikea shook his head doubtfully, “When my father was the chief, it seemed as though I would be headman too one day. But things have changed now. Ahuahu is head man and you are a mother so they do not call on you for an opinion like they used to. Even Tui my brother seems closer to Ahuahu than I ever was and speaks to him of village matters. I have noticed Tui is even looking at Hekehoru, Ahu and Ahuahu’s elder daughter, but worse still she is looking back.”

They were silent for while then Moana spoke.

“I do not want to leave, Paikea. I live closer to my mother here, who lives in the forest to the west” she said pointing, “and Ahuahu and Ahu showed me how to behave in order that I could marry you, they are family to me. No, I do not want to leave. I have been made welcome here, I am respected and have a place in village life, I am happy and this is my home now.” She paused and then said, “Hekehoru is a beautiful girl, what is wrong with Tui looking at her. In any case I am sure he looks at other girls too. You are too jealous of Ahuahu, Paikea. That is no way to be headman.”

Paikea reacted immediately and hit her with his fist. She didn’t cry out, but just sobbed into her arms.

Realising what he had done he tried to hug her in his arms but he could not say sorry. He tried to touch her but she became wooden and didn’t react. He tried to pat on the back but she got up instead.

“Where are you going?”

“To put water on my face”

“You upset me.”

“Go to Agate hills by yourself. You may need some time away from me,” she said as she found the bowl of water in the darkness and splashed it on her face.

“Come back here and lie down and let me hold you.” He said.

“When you come back from Agate Hills you might be able to touch me again if you have changed back to the man I loved.”

There was another long silence then Paikea spoke again.

“Why did my father choose Ahuahu as head man; and why did he have to die?” He whined. Moana said nothing as she knew his fists were still clenched. She curled up on the floor by the side of Hinemoana with a protective arm around her.

Moana never spoke to Paikea again, she had even not told him she was pregnant again. He had gone by morning and he never returned to Black Sands. When his mother saw Moana with a bruise on her face and a split lip, she said nothing but returned home and cried. She knew that Paikea had shamed the family and the memory of his father. She wanted to blame Moana but knew that it was not her fault so kept silent.

Moana went away with Hinemoana too for a little while to the village where the Kakas call. She told Ahu she was visiting her mother who was not well to help look after her brothers and Torangi. She did not really need to go as Hinewai could have managed but everyone thought she went because Hinewai was needed so often at Black Sands to talk to the pakeha in their language. Even though Hinemoana could toddle around now she still had to carry her.

Later when Moana returned, Tui, Paikea’s brother came round to see her to ask if she needed any help. She looked at him closely and noted that he touched her longer in greeting than he should have done.

“You may come to see Hinemoana your niece, Tui. But remember once someone has put their hand in the ants nest they do not do it again.”

“I am ashamed of what happened, Moana. I am not like Paikea. I want to help you.”

“You do not know what happened, Tui. I thought you liked Hekehoru; go and help her instead.”

Tui’s face fell. “Am I that obvious, Moana?”

“Yes, everyone looks beautiful at your age Tui, especially brothers’ wives with tears in their eyes.”

“They said you were wise, Moana.”

She shook her head, “No Tui, not wise, but wiser now. You may come again but not to look at me in this way.”

“You won’t tell Hekehoru, will you?”

“Just go, Tui. I will tell no one.”

Later Moana approached Ahuahu and spoke to him in the village. “Paikea has gone to Agate Hills, Ahuahu.”

He looked at her eyes which were full of sadness. “Come and talk to Ahu, Hatiti and me tonight Moana.” So she took Hinemoana with her that evening and stayed for a meal and as they talked both Hatiti and Ahu played with Hinemoana.

“Who will provide for you Moana while Paikea is away? Tui looks after his mother and aunt doesn’t he?” asked Ahuahu.

”Tui has enough to do. Hinemoana and I will manage. Perhaps if I sing on the beach the fish will jump into my basket.” She said smiling sadly then continued, “Paikea may not be gone long.” She looked down as she said this.

She would not tell them anymore but later when Ahu held her face in her hands, she understood everything. “And there is another baby on the way, Moana, isn’t there?”

The tears in Moana’s eyes told it all. “I wanted to tell you Ahu,” she whispered, “but no words would come out, it hurts so much.”

As Ahuahu would pass her whare before returning home from the sea, she always had fresh fish to eat. She knew who her real family were. Tui meanwhile was now holding hands with Hekehoru.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fish and Kisses

Mark and Marina the mermaid - Part 6 (Story so far: Recently widowed Mark has found a Mermaid on a deserted beach that needs help. In fact they both need the other for different reasons).

We agreed to meet again one more time before Marina moved on to a safer habitat to have her baby. Somehow we had to work out from our own perspectives exactly what part of the coast we were talking about. Marina knew where she wanted to go but I had to try to turn the road maps of the state into oceanographic maps for her by describing the coastline in detail and of the contours of the land, the islands even exposed rocks, river mouths and possible wildlife that existed close by. Luckily as I knew the State well from the land we just had to say snap when we were talking about the same stretch of coastline.   

I thought at one point of asking my daughter who had an in ground salt water swimming pool in her back garden if we could use that for 9 months, but the regular cleaning of fish bones and other more dubious debris might have been a problem.

Luckily it was warmer again the next day and as Marina was itching to be on the move again I once again took a packed lunch of some filleted fish, Tommy Ruffs this time, bread rolls and some fruit for her to try. I was getting quite used to eating raw fish!

It didn’t start well as I tried to explain about the map I took to show her. I told her we were looking at it as though you were high in the sky facing down to recognise the shape of the coast and where rivers entered and where big harbours were with ships and so on. For all the brilliance at telepathy a person living in the sea doesn’t have a great concept of looking down from the clouds.

So we restarted our conversation by getting on mutually agreeable terms such as vegetation, river mouths, cliffs and water temperature. Eventually we homed in on a stretch of coast we both knew that was not near coastal towns, was a marine sanctuary, and where a conservation park on the land side had a little cove where we could meet that was close to where she felt safe. It was only about 60 miles from where I lived so it was fairly close but being a conservation park could be closed at any time in bush fire danger, and the cove was very difficult to access from land because of cliffs and with no pathways through the scrub. From Marina’s point of view it was fine although there were a few New Zealand Fur Seals in the area she said but not actually breeding but just day trippers as it were or youngsters who had lost their way. Nowhere else suited Marina who started to see the future with a bit more confidence as she pictured the location in her memory bank and decided that this was the place to have her baby.

I wasn’t so sure, as I was warmer blooded than she was and I knew the sea there was cold even in summer. There was nothing but the Southern Ocean between it and the South Pole!

“When will you know if you are pregnant?” I asked.

“Three or four weeks, but I feel sure now.”

“Is there anyone else that can help you; that you can contact?”

“I don’t think so, as there are so few of us now.”

“Will you need help with the birth?”

She shook her head, “I have done it before.”

What I didn’t say and tried not to think about when I was with her was how much happier I would be if she could be examined by a doctor or vet or whatever later on to check on the embryo to ensure it was viable.

I still had another few days at the shack and so I asked if she would make her way down to the birthing site straight away or go somewhere else.

She looked at me in my eyes and I knew she was reading my mind. So I clenched my teeth and tried to clear my mind completely and concentrated on the shape and colour of the pebbles on the beach.

I got a prod in the ribs for that. “Don’t!,” she said smiling. “I was just going to say I am not used to anyone else worrying about me so much. You do it all the time. I must manage on my own.”

“What if he or she is a human baby and not a merchild?” I asked “Or if he or she is mixed up; different from either of us?”

“Mark, stop worrying. Here is what we will do. Meet me in the cove at midday in exactly…” Here she paused and looked at her fingers, and then took hold of both of my hands and said “Three” holding her hand up, “Times all your fingers, Ten. That makes Thirty days.”

I nodded, but added “If it is a very hot day they might close access through the park so I will come every day from number 30 on until we meet. Do you agree?” and then went on, “Can we meet again here tomorrow? I have only just found you.”

“You would be a hopeless Merman, Mark. I am not used to being wanted all the time. Let us go for swim together then we will see what fish you have in your bag. You have brought some haven’t you?”

I nodded and so I picked her up and carried out into the sea and carefully put her in the water.

“Everything you do is so gentle Mark." Then she whispered faintly, "Touch me like you did the other day.”

So we played with each other in the water until the thought of that fish in my bag finally outweighed my caresses and she insisted I carry her back to shore to have our lunch.

Monday, 26 November 2012


Was it that hard, dear
To keep your promise to me
To stay together?

Where have you gone now?
Leaving me to yearn for you
That love of yours lost

In Spring you are here
When the daffodils bloom
My tears are showers

The heat of summer
Stirs the warm scent of your body
For me to yearn for

And as the Autumn 
Leaves fall you whisper to me
The wind sings your song

Was it that hard, dear
To leave me cold in Winter
And crying alone?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hinewai and the pakeha (No 74)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

The purpose of the young priest’s visit to Black Sands was to ask permission to speak to the people about his god in their village. Once again Ahuahu called on Hinewai to help translate the pakeha’s words. Ahuahu assembled his village council with Hinewai by his side and the priest next to her. The young man in black slowly explained, speaking in poor Maori, what his missionary society wanted him to do.

Everyone looked blank so Hinewai said, “He wants to come to talk to us about their gods and we can talk to them here,” started Hinewai; she then continued to translate the words he spoke.

“Does he not know that we have our own gods that look after us and who we thank for providing for us and punish us when they are angry? Does he not know that our gods are all around us; when we fish at sea, when we are in the forest and when are in our homes?” said one.

“When I am in danger at sea, I cannot come back to shore and pray to him here, I am just trying to stay alive,” said another.

“If I hurt myself cutting timber in the forest I cannot rush back to sit where you have talked to us for help. I have got to staunch the bleeding there.” said a third.

The young priest felt it was getting out of control and turned to Hinewai, “Please help me, Hinewai”

She spoke up “What he wants will not be a place to get your wound fixed or to find a better way over a reef. It is a meeting place where this priest can talk to us about his god and what this god can do for us. He says his god is with us always, wherever we are.”

Hinewai then whispered to the priest “Just what do you want to say? Are there no fishermen in your book?  If there are tell us about them.”

Pastor John looked at her in gratitude, “Do you know about the book Hinewai.”

“You do not want to know about me. Just tell them about the fishermen.”

As Pastor John stood up to address them Hinewai pulled him down to sit. “It is rude to stand and talk down to people” she said.

So he sat and started again. “There is a man in my book that was a fisherman and I want to tell you about him.” He then continued as they all settled down. “A long time ago, far away, a baby boy was born and when he grew up learned to be carpenter then later as he walked by the sea and talked to the fisherman there just as I am talking to you now, he said to them ‘Put down your nets come with me and I will make you fishers of men. That man was the son of God. That is who I want to tell you all about. He gathered those fishermen to work with him to tell all the people in that country of the God that loves them.”

This time, all the village council were listening to him properly as he spoke and after each sentence Hinewai would repeat it so they understood it fully.

“This powerful God gave his only son so that whoever believed in him should have everlasting life. Just like those fishermen I am trying to do that job too. I tell everyone of this man whose name is Ihu so that by believing in the father, the God of all, your lives and your family’s lives will be better and when you die you will meet this God in heaven.”

“But you are not a fisherman said one of the men. What are you?”

“No, I am not a fisherman but I was a carpenter so I can help to build a church in this village if you let me. And if I stay perhaps you can teach me to fish.”

“I will help you fish, pakeha,” said one of the council members.

“What else did this man do?” said another.

When the members of the council heard Hinewai repeat what he said; some nodded and others asked what one or other of the examples meant. Another one said “Normally I would spear the man that looks at my wife, should I just knock his teeth out now, is that forgiveness?” And the other men laughed.

Eventually Ahuahu got to his feet, “I think we have talked enough for today pakeha priest. We get so many visitors from far away to enjoy the hot springs. I would not want our traditional visitors to see the pakeha have taken over this village. Would it not be more appropriate to talk to the village people close to the sea which would remind people of what you have just told us, that it is all about being fishers of men? Think on this and we will consider your words.”

“You may call me Pastor John, Ahuahu. May I expect your answer soon?”

“Return in a week’s time to give the council time to discuss the matter among ourselves first. Hinewai will return then too to help us understand you.”

The meeting then broke up. Pastor John left the building and called out to Hinewai as she had already left, “Hinewai, thank you for helping me; why did you do that?”

“Ahuahu asked me to; and for no other reason. I have lived with your people and I hated every one of them. You always take more than you give.”

“I do not understand.”

“You want to build a pakeha building in this village. We do not want that. We know how to build dwellings and meeting houses and stores. You think you are helping us but you are hurting and killing us and harming our way of life. Our chief Ahuahu speaks to you because he welcomes most visitors here and is trying not to offend you. He will talk with you but will always expect you to cheat the Maori people, to take what does not belong to you. I would rather you went back and said that this village is not suitable.”  

“But I am not like those that hurt and cheat you. I want to show you the good things that you can have now we are here.”

“We had what we wanted before you came, Pakeha. We did not want your pigs, or metal axes or knives, or shiny mirrors. We do not like the way you smell, we do not like the way you drink rum and get violent. We do not like the guns you have brought and exchange them for land that does not belong to you so that we kill each other with them. And we especially do not like you abusing us because we are different from you. You do not respect our gods, or our land and you take our women and use them and sell them to each other.”

“No Hinewai we do not do those things. We are establishing law and order here.”

“You know nothing, priest. Your law is for you, not for us. You do not respect us, or our own law, our land or our sacred sites. I know priest because I was sold to the white man for their use in exchange for guns so that the men that sold me could fight other villages to control them. Why do you think I can speak to you in your language? It is because I had to learn it to understand what you say. You are just as guilty as the men that bought me.”

“Hinewai, I am sorry that you have been hurt, I will pray for you.”

Hinewai laughed “I can pray to my own gods. I will pray that a tidal wave comes and wrecks your boats and floods your buildings. I will pray that the smoking mountain will erupt again and burn you with lava and destroy you utterly and every dirty pakeha that ever touched and abused me.”

With that she walked away from him.

A week later Hinewai was sent for again while she and Hatiti were visiting Horowai at the Hot Springs so she returned to the main village. Again she helped Ahuahu speak to the pakeha priest.  Pastor John found it difficult to look at Hinewai who seemed unconcerned about their previous conversation. The village council took him down to the old village that had been flooded by the tidal wave many years before. The forest had reclaimed most of the area except for the path to the sea from the new village. Ahuahu pointed to a tree shaded area and said “This is where the village council will permit you to talk to our people.”

The priest looked toward the sea and could just see the line of blue over the dunes a short walk away and then he turned and looked back up to the village and could just see the smoke of the fires and hear the laughter of children further up the hill.

He nodded the asked “Who uses this path to the beach.”

“Everyone,” was the reply. “It is our main route to the beach.”

“Most of us have our boats stowed in the dunes there” said Ahuahu pointing over to the sea where the trees reached the beach.

“It is good here,” said Pastor John, “I would be happy to build a little church here.”

Ahuahu shook his head. “We do not agree to you building here but only that you may talk to the people that want to listen to you.”

“But I will build it with help. I told you I was a carpenter that works with wood.”

Ahuahu still shook his head. “You want to talk to the village people. They will be told you will talk to them here. But we have not agreed on a building.”

“Pakeha priest, you want more than what is offered,” said another member of the village council. Others were murmuring their dissatisfaction so Hinewai translated.

“They want to know if you want a building to sleep in and bring your wife or just to store food and weapons in,” translated Hinewai. “Ahuahu has agreed to you talking to the village people. That is not enough is it? You want more.”

“But in the towns like the port at Big River we have built a church building.”

“We can tell our people that they can visit you there then.”

“Why do you try to thwart me all the time, Hinewai?”

“What do you mean thwart? I do not know this word.”

“Why do you oppose me? I mean.”

Hinewai shook her head and shrugged. “The people will come and sit on the ground here and listen to you because Ahuahu will tell them you want to talk to them. He did not say you can build a pakeha town like Big River here.” With that she walked away from him.

“Hinewai, Hinewai, please come back.”

Hinewai hesitated, turned and went back.

“I knew a pakeha man once, priest” she said. “He insisted on reading me the bible after he had taken me. But at least he did not hit me. He knew he was doing wrong so he told me about his god to atone for using me. He must have liked me as he read to me a lot.”

Pastor John lowered his eyes as Hinewai continued.

“He told me about that son of God who talked to his friends by the sea and to the hundreds of people who wanted to hear him but it was always in the open air. Why can’t you be like that? This is our land not yours. You will not be satisfied until you stolen everything from us and killed us all. There is no difference between the men that used me and you. You are trying to take something from us that we do not want to give you.”

With that she turned away from him and went to Ahuahu. “I will not speak to the pakeha priest again. He will always try to cheat us. No pakeha will ever respect our ways.”

“I agree Hinewai, we have finished here. I will talk to him.” Ahuahu beckoned the priest.

“I have changed my mind priest, while you have been talking the spirits of our tupuna who died in this village years ago have spoken to me. They will not be happy if you speak here. This is their resting place they must not be disturbed. Find another village for your preaching.” Ahuahu then turned away.

Hinewai turned to the priest “Did you understand our chief, Pakeha?”

Pastor John nodded sadly. He had just lost something that had been given him freely. He just couldn’t understand these heathen people, they were so primitive. As soon as he heard the word tupuna he knew he had been beaten. How would he explain this to the elders?

Ihu - Jesus

Tupuna - Ancestors


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Marina's Story

Mark and Marina the mermaid - Part 5 (Story so far: Recently widowed Mark has found a Mermaid on a deserted beach that needs help. Now they are dreaming an impossible dream).

The sun was out again and the little rock pool we were sitting in seemed to warm up. We were telling each other our life stories and now that I had finished my account Marina wriggled a bit before starting hers. The wriggle was not one of getting more comfy it was one of exactly how much she should tell me. Already just by being with her a few days I was picking up the rudiments of telepathy. She was an expert in knowing what I was thinking and somehow getting so close to her I was getting to know how she felt without her saying a word.

She finally relaxed and insisted that one of my hands was placed over her tummy and her own hand was on top of that one. Satisfied that all was well she started to talk.

“I am not from here,” she started, motioning with her free hand , “But from a great distance to the north where it is much warmer but also much more dangerous. In the ocean there is always someone who is hungry. The warmer it is the faster species breed and there is more competition for food. I suppose it is the same here on land but in the depths there really is no law and order; it is never peaceful. I was born twenty or thirty years ago where there are few of your settlements close by. In the winter great whales from the icy regions came and had their calves, but safe though it is for some there are always predators such as the sharks and rays and other fish that bully lesser creatures. So it was with us and the sea lions and the dolphins. The sea lions and fur seals spent much of their time on land when not fishing or playing and the dolphins like us are wise but they are very much faster in the water. So the dangers of the deep did not affect them so much as us. But worse still were your people and the boats that pulled so much fish from the sea. With so many creatures sending distress messages the sea there was always full of predators taking advantage of easy pickings.”

Marina paused here, and reached up to touch my face.

“Mer-people are few by all accounts and whereas we females were not that aggressive our menfolk were and would fight the predators. And so our numbers have dwindled. Ours has always been a matriarchic society like the bees on land and spiders too so our women did not really notice that the mermen numbers were diminishing rapidly. I am sad to say that I do not remember my own father. In all my life I only remember a few males. You were only the second male to mate with me. My first and only calf, a boy was not yet fully grown when he was taken by a shark, so I have no one now. I do not know where my mother is and of my siblings I know nothing either. I met another female a year or so back but she was wary of me as I was younger and thought that if we ever did find a merman he would choose me instead of her.”

She breathed out a deep sigh and continued.

“So now I travel far by myself and try to keep out of trouble but still I meet no one to care for and mate with; that is until I met you. You did not rush to get others to gawp at me or hurt me in any way but saw that I was in trouble and tenderly took me in your arms and returned me to the sea.”

This time as she paused, she took my hand and examined it. “What do you do with all your fingers? Three are quite sufficient you know.” Then she placed each of my fingers in her mouth and sucked it in turn. So with my other hand I traced a pattern on her tummy and made little forays around her plump body and finished up just where her body went from hips to tail and patted her strong tail muscles gently.

“Mmm. I like that,” She murmured contentedly then continued her story.

“I remembered my mother telling me stories about the world and how to be safe and of old mer legends where man and mer people helped each other. So with that vision in my mind a few years ago I would occasionally observe your people from the sea; sometimes I was hidden behind a rocky outcrop or watched when they were fishing on the water. But nothing I saw of man or his women or even their children indicated that I would be safe if I made myself know to them. They fished without reason, they polluted the ocean, killed more than they needed; they scoured the sea bed and killed the mangroves and sea grasses and other living things they did not want. So in short I avoided you as best I could…until now.”

“But each time I came into oestrus I would have that urge to mate, and sadly or happily I don’t know which yet, when I met you the other day I just wanted you as soon as I read your mind. So I lied to you.”

I nodded and said “You said that your rosy tummy just meant you felt sexy but it was a sign that you were ready to mate and if my seed was viable you might have a child.”

She shook her head “No, not a child, Mark…a merchild. That is what I want. You have your children now I want mine.”

And now after hearing her story about her people dying out and her obvious love for me I wanted that too…Marina, my beautiful Marina with a baby merchild of her own, and mine too.

As I continued to stroke her, I wondered whether to tell her about the difficulties in compatibility; of my sperm wanting to make legs and her egg wanting a tail, let alone the problem of fingers and placement of organs and hair and lung capacity and nasal flaps and salt water conversion techniques and temperature control.

So there was I crying too, because I realised that I wanted exactly what she wanted as well! Oh, how I wanted her to have a baby; our baby.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Has Tangaroa started fishing again? (No. 73)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Hinewai returned to help the priest speak to the village council again. When she called in on Ahuahu to check if the pakeha had arrived he merely shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. Hatiti came up to Hinewai and hugged her. “You are going to look after the young pakeha priest again, are you, Hinewai?”

“Shush!” Hinewai whispered, “Come let us go outside and talk.” So the two sisters walked together down by the trees and then sat down on the ground. Even though they were older now Hatiti still started to fuss over Hinewai and to smooth her hair and push the wisps away from her face just as she used to as a teenager. Hinewai just sat and enjoyed the attention then said “Has Tangaroa started fishing again.”

Hatiti laughed outright. “Do you mean have they finally stopped making love? I know let’s go and find out.”

“You have seen them though?”

Hatiti nodded “Horowai came down the other day, looking very pleased with herself. Come on let’s walk up there, Ahuahu will send one of the children if the Pakeha priest comes. I wonder whether Rauoro wants to come as well to see his sister?”

Hinewai shook her head, laughing, “Not if she is going to talk to us about Tangaroa.”

“She wouldn’t would she?”

“She might to me,” replied Hinewai.

“Hinewai, what did you teach her?”

At this Hinewai just smiled “She just asked me about men, so I told her.”

As they walked up to the Hot Springs, Hatiti sighed “I loved Kaihutu my first husband but he wasn’t at all like Ahuahu.”

“You never have talked about either of them with me before. Can you now?”

Hatiti thought for a moment. “No, every moment with Ahuahu is precious for me but I cannot even share those thoughts with Ahu, but he is a good and loving husband.” She paused then said “I wanted you to be happy too, Hinewai. Time is passing and one should never leave unsaid what should be said. Are you happier now?”

“I am not sure about that. I don’t really want to talk about my past. Luckily you do not ask. You just love me like the older sister you have always been. If I do mention something about my other life you do not judge me and probably keep silent and do not tell anyone else. When Torangi and I were sent away from Black Sands I was both very angry and unbelievably sad. But now I just want to return here and thanks to Ahuahu I can. I still feel this is my home but Torangi is not sure. But there, I have always been talked about, and I can accept that. He is happy in the forest with Hauku. But I feel I can atone for the past here but not there.”

“Would he release you from the marriage?”

With that Hinewai smiled “I am not tied, Hatiti. Torangi and I had no formal wedding. I have not been tied since my first dreadful marriage. That man would have killed me in the end.”

“What were the gods thinking, Hinewai? I should have married him but for that tidal wave after the earthquake. What was his name, Tui wasn’t it?” She paused then said “It is strange, I think Paikea’s brother Tui, the old chief’s second son is looking at Hekehoru now. We will have to watch him.”

Hinewai nodded “I stole that other sadistic Tui from you all those years ago and found that I had married a killer whale but his parents just didn’t care.”

As they walked into the Hot Springs settlement they were both holding hands.

Horowai ran up to them smiling. “I am so glad you have both come to see me but Tangaroa has just gone fishing.” Immediately both Hatiti and Hinewai burst out laughing.

“Why are you laughing?”

“Let’s go in inside, we will tell you.” Hatiti said as the both hugged Horowai and rubbed noses with her.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mark's Story

Mark and Marina the mermaid - Part 4 (Story so far: Recently widowed Mark has found a Mermaid on a deserted beach that needs help. In fact they both need the other for different reasons).

It rained that evening and the wind blew in the trees. I relived the day events and imagined being with Marina always but in the cold light of dawn after a sleepless night I realised how impossible a relationship I was imagining would be and the implications it would have on both of us. She couldn’t live in the bathtub on land and the sea would be a hostile place for me especially with no lights to switch on at night when the predators were looking for a snack.

The rain had eased by morning but it was much cooler and still cloudy; so I donned some warmer clothes and packed some food to share and a container of water to take with me. There was nobody on the main beach and even the gulls were absent as I made my way round the foot of the cliff rather than wade through the rocky pools which because of the surface ripples on the water were difficult to judge for depth and footing. It was hard going, the wind was behind me but there was still a lot of clambering over fallen rocks and loose shingle. I sat under the rock where I had first seen Marina and shifted twice to avoid the wind yet still be able to look over the water for her.

I waited a good two hours and the tide had well and truly gone out by then. I kept checking the air for bird messengers and occasionally went down to the shore to see if the crabs were waving semaphore messages to me…they weren’t.

I didn’t leave the beach at all but propped myself up facing out to sea and tried to keep my eyes open. I couldn’t. This caused me to doze off and only woke when I was poked in the ribs. I opened my eyes and found that the sun had finally come out and the wind had dropped.  The sea was already on its way back in and Marina had flopped down by my side and was examining my bag.

“Did you have to crawl up the beach?”

She nodded and she began unwrapping the various edibles and to sniff them. Then she got me to open the container of water and asked if she could try it. I nodded. She tried to poke her tongue in but when that didn’t work tipped it up and spilled it over her and laughed.

“It doesn’t taste like anything.”

“It’s fresh water.” I said and she nodded in reply and pointed to the sky.

I had also packed some fresh fish I had bought at the local shop and had been going to cook in the shack but brought it here for her instead.  When she unwrapped this she stuck her nose close to it and nodded approval and licked it then bit a chunk out of it, chewed and swallowed it.  I wanted to lick her.

She turned to me and asked “Shark?”

“Yes, it is called Flake when you buy it in a shop.”

“You did not catch it? What to you exchange for it?”
I then had to explain all the complex human ways of living, working for money and paying for everything. When I had finished my lecture on being a human, she was shaking her head. “The sea is much better and easier.” By this time she had eaten the whole fillet of fish. I could have eaten her up too.

Every now and then I glanced at her tummy to see if it was rosy again. It wasn’t. She was alert as ever scanning the beach, looking into the sky and cocking her head and listening for signs of danger. After we had been there a little while she went back to the sea to get wet stayed a few minutes then made her way back with surprising agility on her hands and tail, back up to me. She then made me take my top off and wrapped her cold wet body close to me.

“That’s better,” she murmured.

“You were going to tell me about your life.” I said.

“Tell me yours first.” She said first stretching then relaxing in my arms.

So I did. I told her about being a boy, growing up, playing with my brothers, going to school, having girl friends, getting a job, falling in love, getting married, living in a house, having children and being happy and being sad too. I told her how my wife and I had discovered this beach many years ago and we were so happy here. I also told that she had died a few months back and of coming back here to our special place and then of finding her, Marina, my beautiful mermaid who was like a present to me from my wife to comfort me.

I was stroking her hand as I talked and when I looked up at her she was crying, so I leaned over and kissed away her tears. As I kissed and stroked her I noticed that her tummy was still not rosy so I bent down and kissed it gently and hugged her.

“You can have me again.” She said simply.

“But you are not feeling sexy.”

“Of course I am.” She paused then continued. “I am so sorry Mark, I lied to you before. The rosy mark meant that I was ovulating,” she paused, “So you see I have confession to make. But before I do, can we go and sit in the water?”

Luckily the wind had dropped and the water was not that cold so we sat in our little rock pool and this time she leaned back against me with her head underneath my chin and was just about completely immersed in the water. So I wrapped my arms around her and she began her story.

This time it was my turn to cry.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Secret Love

Hidden in my heart
A tale of love unfolding
Yet secret for now

I’ll tell of her lips
They’re full ripe and enticing
I shall kiss them soon

And of her fair hair
So golden and falling down
For fingers to touch

Then her eyes so blue
Look on me with such desire
So I can but melt

Secret no longer
Our love shouts to the wide sky
And the world applauds

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Tell of those times gone
When in those northern French fields
Our men died for us

Fathers and uncles
Fearful and covered with mud
This day remembered

Friday, 9 November 2012

Horowai and Tangaroa’s first night together (No. 72)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

It seemed as though the whole village of Black Sands had walked up to the hot springs on the day of Tangaroa and Horowai’s wedding. Even Hinewai was there and Horowai hoped she had left her gun behind in a safe place. She was quite relaxed as she always imagined being married to Tangaroa even when she played with the other children chasing about the village and weaving baskets in her fingers out of woven fibre or just sitting in the mud.

She remembered Moana’s wedding and knew hers would be even bigger as her father was the head man. Both Ahu and Hatiti prepared for the event and there was a great cheer from everyone gathered there when she walked up to join Tangaroa who waited before the meeting house at the Hot Springs. When all the greetings and promises had been made and the two of them were really married they all sat around in the large building and many people; it seemed like the whole village came up to greet them and rub noses and wish them a long life and many children.

Much of the time Horowai looked down shyly at all the attention while Tangaroa thanked them for coming; then at the back of the crowd a black frocked pakeha came into the building. Ahuahu beckoned him over and got him to sit by his side.

“I was told you might visit. But today is my son’s wedding so I cannot talk with you at the moment but you are welcome to stay and be a guest.” Ahuahu then beckoned young Aotea to him.

“Take this man and give him food and drink.” Then turning to the priest he said, “Stay the night and we can talk in the morning.” Then as an afterthought “Do you understand me? The holy man that came before could speak our language, can you too?”

The young man smiled, “A little.”

Ahuahu then said to Aotea, “Go get Hinewai, she can help translate.” So Aotea dashed off to speak to Hinewai.

“I would like to bless the young couple.” The priest said slowly as Hinewai came up to them looking warily at the priest. Ahuahu nodded an approval.

“Hinewai, the pakeha holy man will stay tonight, could you help him talk to our guests?”

Hinewai looked doubtfully and said to the priest. “It is not a good day to come priest, but I will accompany you as Ahuahu our headman has requested it. I will obey him so shall I not kill you,” smiling at him.

“I do not think you are serious…is it Hinewai? You are related to the bride?”

“I am her aunt. Come I will take you to them.” With that she walked ahead of him to where Tangaroa and Horowai were seated.

“This man is a pakeha holy man and your father said I should bring him here.”

“God bless you children on your wedding day.” The priest said as Tangaroa and Horowai looked a little startled.

Hinewai turned to him and softened a little. “You want to place your hand on their heads don’t you? This is not usual for strangers. You are young and do not know our ways. I will tell them that your god wishes them a long life together and many children and you will touch them on the head as you say it.”

“Tell them that then, Hinewai, but say it gently and with love.”

Hinewai looked at him closely. “You are different Priest, but I will tell them.” So told them what the priest wanted to do and then nodded back to him when they agreed knowing that Ahuahu had already spoken to him.

“In the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit I bless this union and may you both find Christ in your lives,” he said touching them both on the head.

Hinewai grinned at the couple, and said “Well that should please him.” She stayed with him for most of the evening and when it was time to part checked with Ahuahu where he would stay. When informed that he would stay in Hatiti’s old section of the whare where Hinewai was also staying the priest was appalled. She laughed at him. “Are you frightened of wanting me or of me killing you priest? You do not have to worry on either account I will stay with my father in his whare instead. 

“I am called Father John, Hinewai. How is it I feel you are both tempting and threatening me when I speak with you?”

"Because you pakeha are muddying our waters." she replied.

Later that evening after the celebrations were over, Horowai and Tangaroa were finally alone in their own home. Tangaroa was removing Horowai’s clothes one by one and kissing each part of her as her flesh was exposed. She too was tracing her fingers over his body which was finally hers too. Her body glistened with the oil he had rubbed on her and she sighed with satisfaction that her long wait was over as he gently made them one person.”

He was still asleep when she woke in the night hearing the hiss and bubble of the springs that were so close to them. She felt for him again and he stirred and then finally awoke to find her already astride him. “You have been talking to Hinewai, haven’t you Horowai?”

“Don’t talk so much, Tangaroa.”

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

In the rock pool

(Mark and Marina the mermaid part 3)   
Marina and I finished our impromptu meal on the beach. I knew what she was thinking now, so perhaps this telepathy thing was something you picked being with someone that was an expert. That she wanted me to possess her; was the message that seemed to be coming through from her to me. However from the swim in the sea and eating the raw sea food I desperately needed a drink and I hadn’t had one since earlier that morning.

She beckoned me over to where she was laying in the shallows. She wriggled a little as I lay down beside her and then looked at me closely and said “Open your mouth.” I leaned forward to kiss her but she shook her head. “No, no! Drink,” she said as she covered my mouth with hers and hummed softly. Gradually I felt a stream of warm fluid enter my mouth and as her lips were over mine I had to swallow the liquid as it reached the back of my throat. It was a curious but ultimate satisfying feeling to have her do this. I had my arm wrapped around her and she hummed on as the warm liquid went down and I felt that somehow we had become as one. I melted into her and stroked her where her bottom would have been. Slowly she ceased the flow of liquid and carefully drew her mouth away from mine. I was in ecstasy and slowly continued to fondle her and tentatively kissed her lips once again. This time she decided it was time and returned my kisses.

So there in the warm rock pool Marina and I made love just as the sea at low tide was making its mind up to come back to shore. I loved everything about her, especially the way she sang a song of love as we joined our bodies and wrapped ourselves around each other. Every now and then she would turn in the water so first I was above her and next she was on top. I loved the way she wriggled constantly moving all the time and she loved my string of kisses that started on her neck and wound round her body and I finishing up by kissing her rosy tummy. Then at last with one final shudder our lovemaking ended and we just held each other rocking slowly in the water just holding tight, exhausted.

Suddenly she stiffened moving her head from side to side, listening, then disappeared under the water at my feet. Her hands gripped my ankles and just as I wondered what was happening I heard the light plane that clearly she had sensed before me. It flew down over the beach and onward presumably to an airstrip not that far away down south. When it was gone I tapped her on her shoulder and she tentatively raised her head above the water.

“It’s gone,” I said. “Good,” was her simple response.

“The tide’s coming in. I may have to leave soon otherwise I will be trapped in this bay,” I said. “But before I go, do you want to see me again and as you haven’t told me about your life in the sea. Will you do that?
She looked sadly at me. “Mark, it has been fun today but you know nothing about me and I don’t know much about you.”

Marina all the time was glancing around observing the birds, watching the horizon and having regular checks under water to get the gossip from other sea creatures. She then continued, “I have only just recently come back to this beach and am so pleased to have found you here, a beautiful human, to share some time together. But tomorrow I might go up the gulf where it is warmer or across the strait to the beaches that you humans rarely go to.”

“I don’t want to lose you,” I said simply, “I am only here for a few days then I will return to my real home way over the water over there.” I said pointing in a south easterly direction. “Surely we can meet again?”

I took hold of her hand, she only had three fingers and that seemed plenty when I looked at how beautiful they were. Touching her gently with my own fingers I seemed to have too many, the ring and little fingers looked superfluous.

The waves were washing over us now and I could see my clothes further up the beach were likely to be soaked. “Please say you will come tomorrow,” I said.

She just sat still thinking coming to a compromise solution said “Perhaps, but we might not make love. I want you to tell me about your life and maybe I will tell you about mine.”

“I will be here to suit the tides again,” I said.

“I know when you will be here, I have a lot of informants” She replied.

I kissed her gently on the mouth and her neck and her funny little breasts and a final kiss on her tummy. Looking back up at her she had her head leaning back in satisfaction that I was touching her again and then I noticed for the first time that just inside her nostrils she had flaps presumably to prevent the water entering her lungs when she was under water. How is it that I missed those before?

I hugged her again and kissed her nose for good luck. “I am so glad I found you Marina.”

She nodded and ran her hand down my chest. “We are lucky to have found each other, Mark.” With that she turned and swam out to sea and disappeared while I went back up the beach to pick up my clothes and made my way to the shack again looking forward to the next day.